The Biden Administration’s Secretary of Energy, Jennifer Granholm, held several talks with her Chinese counterpart prior to the widely-panned decision to drain the U.S. Strategic Petroleum Reserve (SPR) back in 2021.
As reported by the Washington Free Beacon, the meetings were documented in Department of Energy (DOE) calendars obtained by Fox News. Granholm met with Zhang Jianhua, chairman of the China National Energy Administration, on November 19th and November 21st, 2021, meetings which were never publicly revealed. Just two days after their second meeting, on November 23rd, Joe Biden announced the decision to start draining the SPR in order to combat rising gas prices in the United States.
“Secretary Granholm’s multiple closed-door meetings with a CCP-connected energy official raise serious questions about the level of Chinese influence on the Biden administration’s energy agenda,” said Caitlin Sutherland, executive director of Americans for Public Trust.
The Biden Administration has since claimed that the meetings had nothing to do with the oil reserves, and instead focused on global warming, without providing any evidence to back up this claim. The Biden White House has come under heavy fire over accusations that the Biden family is compromised by China, largely due to Hunter Biden’s numerous foreign business deals with Chinese businessmen during his father’s tenure as Vice President.
Following Biden’s announcement, the United States sold at least 250 million barrels of oil from the SPR, thus bringing the SPR’s totals down to its lowest level since 1983. Roughly one million barrels were sold to Unipec, the trading arm of Chinese gas giant Sinopec; in 2015, the private equity firm co-founded by Hunter Biden bought a $1.7 billion stake in Unipec’s parent company.
The decision to drain the SPR was widely criticized as an overtly political move that only further threatened the American energy supply. Gas prices reached record highs in 2021 due to inflation and the rising costs of oil, and Democrats feared that the high gas prices would cost them in the 2022 midterm elections. But as many have pointed out, draining the SPR is a last-resort measure only reserved for times of emergency such as war or a foreign invasion. The subsequent reduction of the SPR’s levels only increased the scarcity of oil without addressing the supply problem, and thus only temporarily reduced gas prices just in time for the midterms.